Incident Date: 8/21/17

Posted by: Media Relations

Sheriff's Aero Squadron awards scholarship

Courtney Risner of Bakersfield received an Aviation Scholarship from the Tulare County Sheriff’s Aero Squadron.

She graduated from Stockdale High School in May and is currently a freshman at Fresno State majoring in mechanical engineering under an Air Force Reserve Officers’ Training Corps scholarship. After graduation from college, Risner said she hopes to receive her commission as a second lieutenant in the Air Force and to be in line to become a test pilot.

Learning to fly is an expensive endeavor and the $1,000 scholarship helped pay for flying lessons. On Aug. 2, she earned her private pilot’s license.

“I’m grateful to the Sheriff’s Aero Squadron,” she said. “Being chosen for this scholarship was an honor.” 

The Sheriff's Aero Squadron is a benevolent volunteer organization that trains for air searches and message drops. Members include volunteer pilots and aerial observers. Each pilot is licensed by the Federal Aviation Administration while aerial observers are individuals who assist pilots during search and rescue training and operations. 


Members of the Tulare County Sheriff’s Aero Squadron attend search and rescue readiness training monthly and practice aerial search exercises annually. They also raise money for this scholarship program which is geared toward high school and college age students who wish to make a career in general and commercial aviation, professional aircraft maintenance, professional piloting, or military aviation.


Risner’s interest in aviation began at her grandparents’ home in Burbank, which is near the airport. 


“I always ran outside to see what was landing and taking off,” she said.


Later, she joined the Cadet program with the Civil Air Patrol, a U.S. Air Force Auxillary. And now, she begins her career as an ROTC student at Fresno State.  


“We wish her all the best,” said Lt. Rob Schimpf who oversees the Aero Squadron at the Tulare County Sheriff’s Office.


For more info on how to apply for an Aero Squadron Aviation Scholarship or to find out more about the Tulare County Sheriff’s Aero Squadron, contact Deputy Shawn Hermosillo or Deputy Randy Semic at (559) 636-4625. 


The Tulare County Sheriff’s Aero Squadron is affiliated with the Western States Association of Sheriff’s Air Squadrons which was founded in 1947 in Bass Lake.